Traditional approaches to the analysis of mobility in Neolithic samples from Liguria (Italy) provide equivocal results. Evidence of high levels of locomotory stress provided by lower limb muscolo-skeletal markers is not fully supported by external diaphyseal measures of robusticity. To clarify these contrasting findings, we use cross sectional geometric properties of the mid-shaft femur. The Neolithic sample includes eight males and eight females found in a restricted area (Finale Ligure, Savona) and dated to the fourth millennium BC. Samples of Late Upper Paleolithic (LUP) and Mesolithic European femora are used for comparisons. While all female indicators of bending strength decrease steadily through time, Neolithic male values approach those of LUP and even show an increase relative to the Mesolithic group. This result suggests a level of mechanical stress for Neolithic males that is unexpected, given patterns observed on skeletal populations and theoretical expectations for decreased mobility with the advent of food-producing economies. Interestingly, however, expectations are fulfilled at regional level, i.e. when comparing Neolithic males and the last hunter-gatherers from the same area. Liguria is a mountainous region and this finding points once again to the importance of the nature of the terrain for lower limb remodeling. Moreover, the marked sexual dimorphism characterizing the Neolithic sample suggests quite different male-female mobility patterns, probably reflecting the importance of pastoral activity, well-documented in the Ligurian archeological record.

Mobility in Neolithic Liguria (Italy): a biomechanical approach

MARCHI, DAMIANO;FORMICOLA, VINCENZO
2005

Abstract

Traditional approaches to the analysis of mobility in Neolithic samples from Liguria (Italy) provide equivocal results. Evidence of high levels of locomotory stress provided by lower limb muscolo-skeletal markers is not fully supported by external diaphyseal measures of robusticity. To clarify these contrasting findings, we use cross sectional geometric properties of the mid-shaft femur. The Neolithic sample includes eight males and eight females found in a restricted area (Finale Ligure, Savona) and dated to the fourth millennium BC. Samples of Late Upper Paleolithic (LUP) and Mesolithic European femora are used for comparisons. While all female indicators of bending strength decrease steadily through time, Neolithic male values approach those of LUP and even show an increase relative to the Mesolithic group. This result suggests a level of mechanical stress for Neolithic males that is unexpected, given patterns observed on skeletal populations and theoretical expectations for decreased mobility with the advent of food-producing economies. Interestingly, however, expectations are fulfilled at regional level, i.e. when comparing Neolithic males and the last hunter-gatherers from the same area. Liguria is a mountainous region and this finding points once again to the importance of the nature of the terrain for lower limb remodeling. Moreover, the marked sexual dimorphism characterizing the Neolithic sample suggests quite different male-female mobility patterns, probably reflecting the importance of pastoral activity, well-documented in the Ligurian archeological record.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/94694
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